Author Topic: Croatia: Nazi Satellite State, 1941-5  (Read 7359 times)

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Offline <k>

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Croatia: Nazi Satellite State, 1941-5
« on: March 29, 2011, 03:41:51 AM »
Ante Pavelić, who became Poglavnik ("Leader") of "The Independent State of Croatia" from 1941 to 1945, was born in 1889 in Herzegovina, then part of Austria-Hungary. He later attended high school in Zagreb, Croatia, where he joined the Party of Rights, a Croatian nationalist party which later opposed the creation of Yugoslavia in 1918. Pavelić obtained a doctorate in law in 1910 and became an independent lawyer. In the 1920s he become party secretary of the Party of Rights and was elected to the Yugoslav parliament in 1928.

In 1928 the leader of the Croatian Peasant Party was assassinated in parliament, and the resulting political crisis led the King, Alexander I, to proclaim a royal dictatorship in January 1929. The Party of Rights was banned, and Pavelić moved into exile, becoming leader of the Croat Youth Movement  in Vienna. He established links with the ultra-nationalist Macedonian Revolutionary Organisation (MRO), and was sentenced to death in absentia in Yugoslavia for declaring his commitment to independence for Croatia and Macedonia.

In 1932 he moved to Italy where, with financial support and military training from Mussolini, he transformed the Croat Youth Movement into the terrorist Ustase (“Insurrection”), dedicated to Croatian independence. Pavelić agreed to accept Italy’s claim to Dalmatia, in return for Mussolini’s support for Croatian independence. In 1934, Pavelić was implicated in the planning of the assassination by the MRO of Alexander I of Yugoslavia in Marseilles.

Pavelić continued to live in Italy, but between 1937 and 1939 was forced temporarily to disband the Ustase within Italy because of an Italo-Yugoslav agreement.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2011, 07:59:52 PM by coffeetime »

Offline <k>

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Re: Croatia: Nazi Satellite State, 1941-5
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 03:47:08 AM »
In March 1941 the Nazis invaded Yugoslavia. On 17th April Yugoslavia surrendered, and King Peter II fled to England with his government-in-exile. 

From Wikipedia:

The terms of the capitulation were extremely severe, as the Axis proceeded to dismember Yugoslavia. Germany occupied northern Slovenia, while retaining direct occupation over a rump Serbian state and considerable influence over the newly created puppet state, the Independent State of Croatia, which extended over much of today's Croatia and contained all of modern Bosnia and Herzegovina. Mussolini's Italy gained the remainder of Slovenia, Kosovo, and large chunks of the coastal Dalmatia region, along with nearly all of the Adriatic islands. It also gained control over the newly created Montenegrin puppet state, and was granted the kingship of the Independent State of Croatia, though wielding little real power within it. Hungary occupied Vojvodina in northern Serbia. Bulgaria, meanwhile, annexed nearly all of the modern-day Republic of Macedonia. After the capitulation of Italy in 1943, all territories under its administration were placed under German or Ustaše control. These included Kosovo, Albania, Montenegro, and much of Dalmatia.


Initially the Nazis tried to persuade the leader of the Croat Peasant Party to take over the government of the puppet Croatia, but he declined. Mussolini’s suggestion that Ante Pavelić be placed in power was accepted, so Pavelić and a few hundred of his Ustaša supporters left Italy for Croatia. On 16th April 1941, Pavelić proclaimed himself Poglavnik (leader) of Croatia as a one-party state.

In typical fascist fashion, Pavelić tried to go back on the deal he had made with Mussolini that allowed Italy to annex Dalmatia and the Adriatic islands. He appealed to Hitler, but the Fuhrer considered Croatia of little importance and would do nothing to offend Italy, his most important ally.

Images:

1] Ante Pavelić, Poglavnik ("Leader") of the Independent State of Croatia.

2] Flag of the Independent State of Croatia. The Ustaša symbol appears at the top left of the flag.

Offline <k>

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Re: Croatia: Nazi Satellite State, 1941-5
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 03:49:42 AM »
Pavelić set about creating a “purified” Croatia. He hated the Serbs, who formed a significant minority of Croatia’s population, and their Orthodox religion, while idealising the Croats and their Catholicism. His policy, he claimed, was to convert one third of Serbs to Catholicism, expel one third, and kill one third. Amazingly, he admired Bosnian Muslims and regarded them as fellow Croats.

The sheer sadistic brutality of the Ustaša and the Croats, as they gleefully went about the task of torturing and massacring at first Serbs, then Jews and Gipsies, shocked even the Nazis. The notorious Jasenovac concentration camp was set up as part of this extermination policy.

With the establishment of the Independent State of Croatia, a new currency had been introduced: the kuna. However, there was no mint in Zagreb, the capital city, so banknotes were produced in small denominations instead of coins, and these notes were in circulation by the end of May 1941. The German Reichsmark was also used as currency. By September 1942 a new mint was ready, and a decree authorised the mintage of 350 million kuna in five denominations: zinc 25 and 50 banica (cents) coins, and aluminium 1, 2 and 5 kuna coins. Dies had been produced from models created by the renowned Croatian sculptor Ivo Kerdić.

For whatever reason, those coins were never struck. Patterns of some of the designs exist (see final post of this topic); here I intend to show only those coins that were issued.

 
« Last Edit: April 05, 2017, 07:21:41 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Croatia: Nazi Satellite State, 1941-5
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 03:50:52 AM »
As the tide of war eventually turned against the Nazis, the Ustaša had to contend with incursions by Tito’s communist Partisans. This civil war was complicated by the existence of the monarchist, largely Serbian, Chetniks, who regarded the Partisans as their main enemy and made tactical deals with the Nazis and Ustaša, though their exiled King, Peter II, neither authorised nor supported such a policy.

It was not until May 1944, in the final year of the Ustaša regime, that a decree authorised the minting of zinc 1 kuna and 2 kune coins with new, simpler designs than the earlier unissued ones. Because Tito’s partisans were advancing and many mint employees had fled, it was only with the help of a man from the Zagreb jail, who had been imprisoned for forging (presumably German) coins, that these coins were struck and released in August 1944 - though for unknown reasons they are dated 1941. The 2 kune issue is well known to collectors, but the train carrying the 1 kuna planchets was bombed and never arrived at the mint. The few existing 1 kuna pieces were struck on sample planchets.

The image below shows an 2 kune coin, issued in 1944 but dated 1941. On the obverse of the coin, the new Ustaša emblem can be seen above the Croatian coat of arms. The photo of the official coin was taken by forum member Zantetsuken.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2017, 06:34:34 PM by <k> »

Offline <k>

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Re: Croatia: Nazi Satellite State, 1941-5
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 04:10:04 AM »
Apart from the circulating 2 kune coins, special gold coins, denominated at 500 kuna, were struck by personal order of the Poglavnik, to be presented as gifts to foreign rulers and dignitaries. Again, these are dated 1941. These coins come with two different obverses: one depicts the Poglavnik, while the other portrays a kneeling Croatian woman who is holding a sheaf of wheat.

Until 1943, the legal ruler of Croatia was King Tomislav II, who was imposed on Croatia by Mussolini. However, he never set foot in the country. After September 1943, Italy moved over to the Allies, and northern rump Italy ("The Italian Social Republic") was occupied by the Nazis. It is possible that before then, only the gold coins showing the Croatian woman were issued to avoid problems with Italy, since the Poglavnik was not legally the head of state, and according to international tradition, gold coins bear the portrait of the ruler. After September 1943, it would have been permissible to issue the portrait coins. This is just a theory, as little is known about these coins.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 09:33:44 AM by coffeetime »

Offline <k>

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Re: Croatia: Nazi Satellite State, 1941-5
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 04:33:04 AM »
From Wikipedia:

Seeing Germany folding and aware that the Croatian army was no longer in any condition to resist the communists, Pavelić ordered withdrawal of all Croatian Armed Forces to Austria. There they were to surrender to the British who he believed, unlike the partisans, would treat his soldiers in accordance with the Geneva Convention. Pavelić left the country on 6 May 1945 and reached the Austrian border on 8 May. In fear of the advancing communists, Croatian soldiers and a large number of civilians retreated to Austria. Of the more than 100,000 Croats in retreat, at least 10,000 were killed by Partisans during the Bleiburg massacre in mid-May 1945.

Pavelić managed to hide in Italy until 1948, when he escaped to Argentina and was protected by the Peron regime. In April 1957 he was shot in the back and seriously wounded, it is presumed by a member of Yugoslav intelligence. At the end of 1957 he flew to Spain, where dictator General Franco granted him asylum. He settled in Madrid and died in December 1959, reportedly from complications due to the bullet still lodged in his spine.

References:

1] Wikipedia.

2] World Coin News, July 1996: Croatian coinage - Forgotten gold issues of early independent state.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2011, 08:54:54 AM by coffeetime »

Offline <k>

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